Category: Growing

Keeping a growing family safe, sound and on the go

With our second baby on the way – soon! – I’ve gone into full nesting mode. I’m fluttering around getting everything ready for this baby’s arrival. Funnily enough, I’ve got most of the baby essentials already and it’s Millie who needs an upgrade on some very important items so bubba can move in.

The pram, the cot and the car seat will soon belong to the newest member of our family and that means Millie gets some new surprises. She’s successfully moved into her ‘big girl bed’ and a new, larger Britax car seat.

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Car travels with Millie safe and sound

We’re always in the car and on the go – weekend road trips and family visits to all corners of Melbourne – so it was especially important to us to find a car seat that was as comfortable as it was safe.

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Dummy dilemma: Where can I find a Happy Baby?

I received some disturbing news today.

The lovely assistant at my local Chemist Warehouse told me that Happy Baby soothers HAVE BEEN DISCONTINUED.

Say it ain’t so.

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These dummies have seen us through otherwise sleepless nights, international flights, long pram walks, supermarket queues, car trips, illnesses and teething.

This news is enough to make me crave my own ‘soother’.

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It’s her party (and I’ll cry if I want to)

Millie is 1.

My baby.

Grown up. A big toddler. I no longer have to tell people her age in months.

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Millie the birthday girl

The husbando and I have had a year to get used to this parenting caper. A year as someone’s mummy and daddy.

I’m a little sad. It’s been the BEST but the FASTEST year of my life. I’d love to do it – the sleepless nights, the sore boobs, the pooey nappies included – all over again.

But she’s a healthy, happy, sweet, determined and beautiful little girl and getting cuter, funnier and smarter by the day. We’re so lucky.

Which is why we threw her a big 1st birthday party.

I’ve gone and done the very thing I swore I wouldn’t before I had a child.

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Happpy Birthday Millie!

Me a year or so ago (usually en-route to a 1st birthday party):
Why even bother throwing a 1-year-old a party? It’s not like they know what the hell is going on. It’s a huge waste of money. This baby birthday thing is getting out of control. A small family gathering is plenty.

Me the last few months:
Millie is turning 1! How exciting! Let’s throw her a party and invite all our nearest and dearest! I’ll order the invites now! What should be the theme? How big is too big for helium balloon arrangements? What should she wear? Oooh Etsy! I’ll have one of everything pink and cute and woodland, ok? Thanks!

It was a great day. Millie didn’t know what the hell was going on, but when she’s older we’ll show her the photos and tell her all about the room of people who love her and were at her 1st birthday.

We held it at a cafe/bar because our house is packed if any more than 3 people visit at once. It was the best idea I had. First birthdays are mostly for the adults so this ensured everyone was fed and watered and wasn’t subjected to my cooking.

Mister Fox starts to take shape as Millie's woodland wonderland
Mister Fox starts to take shape as Millie’s woodland wonderland

I could decorate to make it look how it looked in mind and I could focus on Millie and chatting to everyone while someone else served the food (and cleaned up afterwards!).

I bought an inflatable ball pit to pop in the corner of the room for Millie’s little buddies. It was a huge hit.

Millie's little friends Olivia and Isabel having a ball (geddit?)
Millie’s little friends Olivia and Isabel having a ball (geddit?)

I chose a woodland theme (deer, foxes, rabbits, toadstools, flowers, birds) and ordered invites and decorations to match. Easy peasy.

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The woodland theme started with the invitations

Millie’s birthday cake was a giant cupcake. Without too much tweaking it looked like a toadstool. Bingo. We’d ordered cakes from this bakery before so knew it would look fantastic and taste delish.

The cake was a hit with the party girl
The cake was a hit with the party girl

I went a little crazy on Etsy to gather the decorations. Once I had the theme in mind it all seemed to fall into place. Oh, and I had to have a glitter letter pom pom banner. Of course.

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Little Dovie makes glitter name banners just perfect for parties

With the theme set months ago, I gathered bits and pieces as I went. Hubby said it was like the months before our wedding again. I was in full organising mode.

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It’s all in the details

I always remember my birthday parties and being able to wear my prettiest dress. For Millie I picked my favourite Aussie children’s label and ordered a printed floral smock dress, bloomers and matching bib – I added some winter tights and leather bow moccs and her outfit was complete. Almost.
I found a dainty headband with tiny flowers and a bird sitting atop and snapped it up. It couldn’t have matched her theme or outfit better. She looked like a little woodland nymph.

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Millie dressed for her party in Aussie labels Printebebe and Hubble and Duke

It was a great party, if I do say so myself. But like most events and milestones this year, it was over way too fast.

Better get planning for when Millie Moo is 2.

Millie’s 1st birthday party suppliers:
Invites: Creative Union Design
Venue: Mister Fox, Ringwood
Catering: Mister Fox, Ringwood
Balloon arrangement: Party Bazaar, Elsternwick
Pom pom banner: Little Dovie
Woodland bunting: Mozi
Cake & mini cupcakes: Little Cupcakes, Melbourne
Cake topper: Little Dovie
Mason jars & lids: Typo
Flowers: Simeon’s Florist, Elsternwick
Fuzzy bunny decorations: Bed, Bath N’ Table
Wooden toadstool figurines: WoodrockTurning
Crochet toadstools: Astash Toys
Deer figurine: Moppit and More
Lolly bags: Daiso
Inflatable ball bit: Big W
Balls for ball pit: Kmart

C’mon get appy

Who knew there is so much fun to be had on a mobile phone that doesn’t involve chatting to your mates, sending an MMS or shopping online?

It’s apps. They’re great. Besides your usual, EVERYONE must have apps (Instagram, Facebook, Urbanspoon, Shazam) there’s numerous pregnancy/baby/parenting ones that are as handy as a wet wipe.

Throughout my pregnancy I used Baby Bump. Enter your due date and each week there’s some info about what’s happening to you, how baby is growing (and strangely the size bub would be if it were a fruit or veg) and a countdown so you know how many days you have left before you’ll be able to see what you’ve been lugging around for 9 months.

It has tips and limited info, but I just liked to be able to peek at it every now and then. It was free and certainly added to my excitement about having a baby as each week my colleagues would ask me how big bub was. “It’s a grapefruit already? Wowsers!”

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There’s lots of similar ones out there and some can be quite involved, with space for your bump pics or the ability to connect with other mums-to-be.

Once we brought Millie home and I was in my ‘zombie cow’ state (half asleep and breastfeeding around-the-clock) I found the free app Baby Feed quite useful.

It charts how long baby fed for, on what side, how long it’s been between feeds and if you do a nappy change before/after a feed you can record if it was a poo or just a wee.

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I didn’t use it for long, but Baby Feed was good in the early days when you just can’t remember any details about anything. The only problem was this zombie cow often forgot to start or stop the timer. Never mind.

I continue to use The Wonder Weeks app after being told about it in one of my first mother’s group meetings.

The Wonder Weeks is a book written by an infant development expert from the Netherlands and has been condensed for use on an iPhone or android mobile.

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After entering your baby’s birth date (or corrected age in Millie’s case – she was prem and born 4 weeks early) it will provide a chart in weeks and indicate when your bub will go through a ‘leap’, or developmental milestone.

According to the author, leaps are when your baby’s brain is changing and so coincide with fussy periods your baby might have. So if bub is particularly sooky or miserable, it’s likely he or she is in the middle of a mental development phase.

It’s certainly interesting. The chart shows what stage your baby is at in terms of age and shows upcoming leaps with a solid line and indicates the weeks your bub might be fussy (storm cloud) or happy (sunshine).

Some mums look to the chart and dread the stormy periods because their bubs behave almost exactly as the chart predicts.

I didn’t really notice too many swings in Millie’s attitude to worry about the pending storm clouds, but it was great to read a summary of the leap as well as to learn what her new abilities would be and when we’d start to see her do them.

The app charts your baby’s leaps until they are 84 weeks old (Millie is about half way through).

Have you discovered any useful baby or parenting apps? Tell me what they are below.

Little fluff head knows what she wants

My girl is nearly 9 months old and all of a sudden I’ve noticed so many changes.

She has just started to sit up by herself. Some babies do it at 6 months, some a lot later. No-one was going to get Millie to sit until Millie was ready. She does it happily for a while now – until she gets tired and throws herself back…she’s going to learn the hard way that it’s not the way to lie down. Luckily mummy has been there to catch her so far.

She kicks her legs then plants her feet and lifts her bum (quite an advanced yoga move you’ve mastered there baby) to prevent me putting on a nappy/pants/sleeping bag. How they know that this is very annoying for the person dressing them is beyond me. No-one teaches them these ‘tricks’, but they pick it up so quickly.

Her eyes have gone from a deep blue to blue flecked with greys and greens. I could stare at her beautiful big eyes all day. My mum had beautiful big eyes, I’m sure it’s where she gets them from.

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She had lots of dark brown hair when she was born but it’s grown and turned a dark blonde, but getting lighter every day. She has lost the bald patch at the back. Her hair curls up and goes wispy after a bath and she looks like a baby chicken with fluffy feathers on the top of her head. Some mornings when I lift her from her cot I see a resemblance to Willy Wonka with wispy hair jutting horizontally from above her ears.

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She copies adults by ‘talking’ and ‘singing’ and has just discovered she can blink purposefully, either when mimicking us or looking at bright lights.

Last night Millie was holding two mini maracas while I prepared dinner. I took them out of her hands to give her food. She screamed.
This is clearly a girl who knows what she wants.
She wanted to eat too, just with maracas in her hands. Daddy gave her a maraca (not used to a crying baby like mummy is!) and she heightened the pitch. There were two maracas you see. She wanted both.

Dinner continued while our little musician banged and tapped and shook her new toys.

What the? How do you keep the peace without creating a mini Veruca Salt?

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It’s a fine line. I guess we’ll learn. You do the best you can.

She is learning and growing as we are learning and growing as parents.

There’s no time to sit and decide how you are going to tackle the challenges baby throws at you. It happens, you react. It’s just the way it is.

I’m sure she’ll turn out just fine.

The crying baby ghost

Does anyone else hear their baby crying even when they’re not?

It happens to me all the time.

It often happens when I strip off and step in the shower…that’s a guarantee I’ll hear it: a faint waaaaaaaaa.

I tilt my ear toward the hallway.

Waaaa.

Ok then. Shower off. Towel on. Up to Millie’s room. Open the door. She’s snoozing. Hmm.

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Hubby comes home from work and starts talking about his day. I shoosh him. “Is that Millie?” I say. He rolls his eyes. It’s not.

Settled on the couch with a cuppa, ready to watch the latest Game of Thrones episode (yeah, yeah…don’t tell me you aren’t stupidly excited that it’s back) and I’ll suddenly hit the mute button on the remote. I can hear a sob. Oh no I can’t.

We laugh that there’s a crying baby ghost in our house. Or that Millie pretends to be asleep again when I check on her.

I suspect it’s something engineered in mothers. Once that baby is put in our arms we are wired to jump up at the tiniest peep.

I think it stems from those first weeks with bub, those weeks when you’re so nervous and lie awake listening to every cry, snuffle, breath, squeak and sigh from the teeny little person beside your bed. Your hearing is so finely tuned to them that you hear their cries ringing in your ears.

I thought it might have been the lack of sleep that was sending me round the twist, but no, Millie’s almost 9 months old and a champion sleeper – and it’s still happening to me.

I won’t ignore it, the day I don’t take a peek at her or check the monitor is the day it’s actually Millie awake and crying.

Please mums, tell me it also happens to you? Or am I going batty?